Collecting Antique Teddy Bears – The History

posted by Karen Hood
Friday, June 5, 2009

by Jo Whyte
Source: Ezine

Who Invented The Teddy Bear?

Collecting teddy bears is a world-wide phenomenon! For more than a hundred years teddies have been loved and confided in as childhood companions, and since the 1970s have risen in popularity as a collectible for adults. Whether because they bring back those warm childhood memories of a best friend, or through their endearing faces, teddies just seem to draw themselves to us!

Unlike many other collectibles, teddy bears have character and appeal that endears them in a way far beyond merely being investments.

History Of The Teddy

During the late 19th century, bears were a popular theme in the toy industry, especially in Germany. The “Black Forest Bears” of Germany and Switzerland were carved in wood, with the first soft toy bears being produced in the late 1890s. These bears were realistic, on all fours, and often on wheels. Automatons were also produced, in which a key-wound mechanism allowed the bear to “perform” actions. Books, such as Goldilocks And The Three bears, and postcards were also popular.

The First Teddy Bear

Having begun making soft toys in Germany in 1886, Margerete Steiff’s firm first made their ” Bar 55PB” in 1902. Late the same year, President Teddy Roosevelt inspired a cartoon by Clifford K Berryman in the Washington Post, humorously illustrating an incident on a bear hunt in which the President refused to shoot a bear cub tied to a tree. The cub, through subsequent cartoons in 1903, became known as Teddy. That year, Hermann Berg, a US toy buyer, bought 3000 of Steiff’s jonted teddies at the Leipzig Toy Fair. Also in 1903, Morris Michtom, a US store owner in Brooklyn, was inspired by the cartoon of Roosevelt to produce his “Teddy” bear, which founded the US teddy making industry.

Within five years, by 1908, the Steiff teddy bear had risen dramatically in popularity to sales of over 975,000! The teddy was German-born, then named in the US!



2 Responses to “Collecting Antique Teddy Bears – The History”

  1. Mistylynn says:

    Teddy bears have even been a source of pride in political things. My parents each bought us a teddy bear that was supposed to be collectible. It was made as something collectible the year we took a stand against the Moscow Olympics. I believe that was in the early 80s. We kept those bears for the longest time wrapped in their plastic thinking they’d be worth something. We eventually grew bored of that idea as kids and just played with them.

  2. Jo Whyte says:

    Hi, i noticed you have used my article on your site. Thanks for acknowledging that I am the author. My website is http://www.teddyandbears.com where I have many more interesting articles I have written. Thanks 🙂

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